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A Guide to Diablo: IncGamers site changes – Here’s what we’ve done

Regular readers will have noticed quite a few changes on Diablo: IncGamers since the launch of Reaper of Souls which was the motivation for us to make some of the changes we had been thinking about for a while.

When RoS launched we pushed the first stage of front page layout changes live. We know everyone likes to read their content in different ways so the site was changed to a similar layout to the main IncGamers site. Of course not every one will love that format so in the past week we set to work on the second phase which was giving you the option to read the content in the old format if you so desired.

In case you hadn’t spotted it, there are a couple of buttons above the news that allow you to switch to your preferred format.

change view

Probably the toughest job we had to undertake was the forums. We have used the same forum system for around a decade and there were millions of posts to port over. It was important to us to make sure that threads from the old forum were not lost, we’d have hell to pay from you guys if they went missing :) Remember the great forum crash of 2003? That was not pretty.

So why the change? There were numerous reasons, the next version of the same forum was bloated with features that were useless to the community here. Spammers were also a consideration and the previous software was starting to struggle with the rise in spammers over the last couple of years. We needed a system that could pro- actively catch them and then make life easier for IncGamers moderators to deal with anything that managed to slip through.

The end results once we switched were good. The forums are now easier to use, faster and more robust. It’s taken some time to iron out issues with posts moved over from the old system but I would say we are 95% there with most things now. The forum is now easier to use and has more features to track new content additions.

One of the main issues we had during the change was with your logins. We have a custom login system that ties your forum account to the main site. When we moved forums that obviously broke down and had to be recreated. One of the issues we came up against was the inability for guests to post in the news and members who were logged in seeing a captcha. This was not acceptable so it took a few days for me to sort out but thankfully it now all works.

Regarding commenting on news, originally we had the news post into the community forum but as things move quite quickly here as far as content is concerned, we thought it best to create a separate forum for the news discussions. This reorganisation prevents any community forum discussion being lost in a pile of news. Your discussions are important after all.

hardrock

Trophies

Regarding accounts. Some of you have been registered here for over a decade and we have been helping members who have had login issues since the switch because they no longer have access to the email they originally registered with. If there are any of you still caught in that trap then we can sort it for you. Send an email here and we will deal with it.

With the new forums came new features, and something we’ve wanted to do for some time is highlight pro-active members and also award trophies for actions by the community. Elly sat down over a few days to come up with the points and reward system. You may have spotted the icons on threads but so you know how it works I have posted all of the trophies below for reference.

There are still a few things to do but the core updates are now in place. Your feedback on anything we do is much appreciated and a special thanks to the PALS who have helped make all the changes possible with their contributions.

Threads

Thread StarterThread Starter -Points: 15 -You have started 5 Threads
Topic RaiserTopic Raiser – Points: 45 -You have started 20 Threads
Town CryerTown Cryer – Points: 90 -You have started 50 Threads
ConfabulatorConfabulator – Points: 91 -You have started 80 Threads

Setting the Agenda Setting the Agenda – Points: 120 -You have started 120 Threads

Likes

Primary Source Primary Source – Points: 1 – Somebody out there liked one of your posts.

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A Total Guide to Greater Rifts

Greater Rifts (GRs, initially known as Tiered Rifts) are a higher level of Nephalem Rift, meant to provide a greater challenge and greater rewards for players geared well enough to take them on. Greater Rifts are timed, and *must* be completed within 15 minutes to earn rewards. All treasure in Greater Rifts, with usually a legendary item or two, comes from the DiabloWikiGreater Rift Guardian (GRG) which is an upgraded version of the regular DiabloWikiRift Guardians.

Greater Rift CompletionDifficulty: Greater Rifts are numbered as a measure of their difficulty. A level 1 Greater Rift is very easy, equivalent to Normal difficulty (or less.) Greater Rifts scale up quickly though, and will become challenging for any player ability. Level 8 is equivalent to about Torment 1, Level 15 is equivalent to about [Torment 3, and Level 25 is approximately the same as Torment 6. There should be an infinite number or Greater Rift levels since each one merely increases the hit points and damage of the monsters by some percentage.

Shrines: There are virtually no DiabloWikishrines or DiabloWikipylons in Greater Rifts. Pylons are seen occasionally, but their bonuses last only 15 seconds (instead of the usual 30) and Blizzard specifically said that DiabloWikiConduit Pylons would not be found in Greater Rifts since they are so powerful they would skew the entire rift DiabloWikiLeaderboard system.

Dying in Greater Rifts

Revive at Corpse. No.

No Respecs: Characters can reallocate their Paragon Points while in a Rift, but can not access their inventory or skill menus (DiabloWikirespec) while in a Greater Rift. It is possible to return to town mid-GR, and players can respec and make repairs then, though it’s not recommended since the GR is a timed race. This is a feature designed to limit exploits via equipment or skill changes, so players can’t change gear or skills to be more effective against a single target before they reach the Greater Rift Guardian for instance.

Rewards: Items and gold do not drop in Greater Rifts, and there are no chests or other clickables. All treasure comes from defeating the Greater Rift Guardian, who drops a huge amount of stuff, about double that of a normal Rift Guardian, and has a very high probability of dropping at least one legendary item. (Note that the lack of gold and chests hurts the effectiveness of legendary items such as DiabloWikiGoldwrap and DiabloWikiHarrington Waistguard that proc up in effectiveness via gold pickups or chest/clickables opening.)

Progress Bar: The progress bar in a Greater Rift increases gradually from killing trash mobs, but jumps up by larger amounts for Elite kills. (Elites drop objects that look a bit like gooey health orbs, which count for big boosts in the progress bar when collected.) This is a feature designed to keep players from simply rushing past Elites to more quickly finish the rift by killing trash mobs, as can be done in normal Nephalem Rifts, and players will fill their progress bar more quickly by killing Elites than by skipping them, except in very rare long Elite battles.

Accessing and Process

  1. # Get a Greater Rift Keystone level 1 from completing a Nephalem Rift. – Drop rate still being determined.
  2. Use the GR Keystone to open a portal to a Greater Rift at the regular Nephalem Obelisk next to DiabloWikiOrek.
  3. Kill all the mobs in the Greater Rift before the timer runs out.
  4. No regular or champion mobs drop loot in Greater Rifts.
  5. The Rift Guardian will drop loot regardless if the timer has run out or not.
  6. If the Rift Guardian is killed before the timer runs out he will drop a Greater Rift Keystone.
  7. The Keystone’s level is determined by how quickly the Greater Rift was cleared. The quicker, the higher the GR key fragment.

Progress Bar and Rift Speed

The progress bar in a Greater Rift looks the same as the bar in a normal Nephalem Rift, with two added slider needles, displayed above and below the bar. The total bar coloured in orange, and the icon above it show your current progress towards completing the rift. The icon below it and any colour in blue shows how fast you need to progress to complete the rift in time.

greater rift progress bar

Ahead of the progress time

When players are battling through a Rift that’s just at the limit of their killing power, they will often see their progress dropping behind and the bar showing blue, before they kill a couple of Elites in a row and see the bonus from Elites shoot them back up ahead of schedule.

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Battle.net 2.0 Threatens the Success of Diablo 3 – [Opinion]

Posted 5 Mar 2012 by

Better?

Let me preface this by saying that the people who read my articles can attest that I’m quite positive when it comes to talking about Blizzard and their design choices. They are my favorite game developers by far, and I am a big fan of all of their games. This is not an Anti-Blizzard rant, or anything close to that. And also please note that this article is an opinion feature-article, and these are my personal opinions.

There is a fundamental problem with Battle.net 2.0, and it has existed since SC2. In fact, I am 100% convinced it played a huge part in SC2′s lack of longevity and lack of success amongst the community.

The lack of presence and “Ghost-town Effect” of DiabloWikiBattle.net.

Like many others, my history with Blizzard games is very long, detailed and grateful. Grateful that Blizzard existed because their games have been the only ones that have been ridiculously fun, long-lasting and satisfying. I started with SC1. Than I played D2 for many years. I even played WC3 for a few years, and of course, WoW for many years.

Starcraft 2 was the first Blizzard game that I only played for 1 month. Not because it was too competitive, too difficult or not fun, but because the game had something missing in it. I would find myself only logging on to play a game or two, than logging off. A far cry from previous Blizzard games, where I would log on, chat to people, mess around, talk strategy, experiment, play games with friends and in the mix of that, play the game. Eventually, Starcraft 2 felt like every other non-Blizzard game – dead, finished and pointless to play.

Battle.net 2.0 turned SC2 in to a ghost town, and ruined one of the most social RTS games in history. As I write this article, on a Saturday afternoon, there are just 13,000 SC2 games being played right now, Worldwide. At this same time, there are 51,000 games being played in Diablo 2, an 11 year old game. SC2 has no community that compares to what have seen in past Blizzard games, (except for the e-sports community). Why? Because Battle.net 2.0 doesn’t have any kind of social features, and is built from the ground up to prevent communities from ever forming.

Before Battle.net 2.0, I didn’t log in just to play the game and log back off. I logged in because it was a part of my every-day entertainment schedule. It was what I did instead of watch TV or play other games. And it was the most satisfying piece of entertainment for me for the last decade. Battle.net 2.0 took away every single part of the Blizzard community, and became a means to an end for them, rather than an epic gaming platform that brought players together and was a social metropolis of entertainment, community and excellent games.

Click more for the rest of this article.

Blizzard have done something to Battle.net. Whether intentional design choice or just plain bad work and negligent design, Blizzard has turned Battle.net and its related games to ghost towns, where players come in, play for a bit, and jump back out. No longer is Battle.net the place you hang in, socialize in, idle in and keep open on your computer throughout the entire day, but rather an invisible platform that pushes you in to a quick game. Where your identity is invisible, and you don’t see anyone else. Where the community is non-existent, and your character doesn’t even have a presence save for a 4 player game.

Without avatars and proper chat channels, Diablo 3 will be a ghost town. It will feel like a dead game with no heart, no memories and no community. No presence, no individuality, no “hey check out my new Sword that I just found”, no random private messages from some guy who wants to ask you about your build, or your gear. No sense of achievement, no bragging rights, no talking to a bunch of strangers about Demon Hunter strategies. (A visual survey of the chat channels from all Blizzard titles.)

The people who know me and read my posts, articles etc know that overall, I’m very Blizzard-friendly. I agree with a lot of their controversial design decisions, and defend them quite commonly when the community makes negative statements about them that I don’t agree with.

And here I am. Telling you and any one from Blizzard that may be reading, that I 100% disagree with the design direction for the social aspects of Battle.net 2.0, and strongly feel that this game’s longevity and the enjoyment it provides is going to be significantly and negatively impacted by the decisions to not have proper chat channels, not have a real sense of presence in Battle.net (In Diablo 3′s case, avatars within these chat channels) and not have a more vibrant social feature set within Battle.net.

I am also not alone in this opinion. Take the time to read this excellent article on teamliquid. Also note that a recent poll suggested that the vast majority of players want proper chat channels and would feel like not having them would be detrimental to the game for them.

While it is completely unrealistic to expect any changes before the launch of Diablo 3, I, and hopefully many people in the community would like to appeal to Blizzard to please improve Battle.net 2.0′s chat channels, and avatars to a level that even Diablo 2 had, and to not repeat the same mistakes of Starcraft 2.

Finally, I would just like to say that the good news is that most of this can be corrected and achieved by making but a few simple, and easy modifications to the current Battle.net Diablo 3 system:

  1. Larger chat window that can be centered in the main screen or moved. Make “Show players” always on, rather than an option.
  2. Visual Avatars representing players in the channel. Preferably smallish actual models of their selected character. Similar to the model we see when we click on “View player” in the current Chat interface, except always showing. This will give players a sense of presence and feel like they are visible and part of the community, as well as show their character’s gear and look. This is ALREADY implemented in the game, but tucked away in the right-click menu!
  3. Option to Automatically enter X channel when logging on to Battle.net, and a general chat that allows space for at least 100 players per instance. (I can’t emphasize enough how much better and lively the game feels when you can see people talking in the lobby).
  4. The ability to make custom games, so you can for example, make a game called “Level 10 duels”, or simply meet with some folks that aren’t on your friends list for any particular reason or event.

This article can be discussed in our forums here. And on the Battle.net forums here.


Tagged As: | Categories: Battle.net, Columns, Controversy, Interface